Articles by Mal Leary


State revenues continue in the red, pose additional budget problems

By Mal Leary on Nov. 23, 2012, at 11:01 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — With state revenues $26 million below estimates four months into the budget year, there is a growing concern among forecasters that revenues will have to be re-projected downward next month, making the overall budget shortfall all the more difficult to address. “We have now seen some of …

Legislature says Maine Revenue Service report on business tax breaks falls short

By Mal Leary on Oct. 21, 2012, at 2:56 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Revenue Services has submitted a report to the Legislature on several of the business tax breaks on the books, but leaders of the Taxation Committee say the compilation of how much revenue was lost in providing the breaks falls short. They want a measure of how …

State revenues fall in the red in first quarter of fiscal year

By Mal Leary on Oct. 15, 2012, at 7:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — State revenues are behind projections by nearly $27 million, with not a single revenue category meeting expectations in September, at the end of the first three months of the budget year. “All three of our top lines and other large lines on the revenue side are down …
In this Friday, April 27, 2012 photo, Gov. Paul LePage takes a sip out of a coffee mug displaying a "no new taxes" message on the bottom during an interview with the Associated Press at his office at the State House in Augusta, Maine.

LePage pledges more tax cuts as Tax Foundation says Maine’s rating improves

By Mal Leary on Oct. 11, 2012, at 5:19 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage says the improvement in Maine’s business tax climate as measured by the Tax Foundation is only the beginning. He will propose further tax cuts, including the elimination of the corporate income tax, to spur job growth in the state. “We are moving in the …

Maine again faces penalty for gap in sex offender registry law

By Mal Leary on Oct. 08, 2012, at 5 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers changed the state’s sex offender registry law earlier this year, but it still falls short of the minimum requirements in the federal Adam Walsh law. That will again reduce the state’s grant under the federal Justice Assistance Grant program by 10 percent. “We have been told …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage pulls out of National Governors Association

By Mal Leary on Sept. 30, 2012, at 2:22 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has pulled the state out of membership in the National Governors Association because he says Maine is not getting enough benefits for its $60,000-a-year membership fee. He is also urging other state officials to review whether they are getting value from the various national …

Prisoner work crews save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars

By Mal Leary on Sept. 16, 2012, at 4:38 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Work crews of inmates from state correctional facilities are providing state agencies, as well as local schools and towns, with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of repairs, construction, road work, painting and other maintenance every year. “We use 10 dollars an hour as a value for …

Feds urging states to require first-time drunken drivers to install ignition devices

By Mal Leary on Sept. 12, 2012, at 6:07 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging states to require first-time drunken drivers to install ignition interlock devices that prevent their vehicles from starting if they have been consuming alcohol. But the uncertainty of federal funding and the lack of a good system for assessing current …

Police and first responders bracing for ‘devastating’ reduction in federal grants

By Mal Leary on Sept. 02, 2012, at 2:15 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Law enforcement agencies and first responders across the state are bracing for what they expect will be significant cuts in federal grants, a fear members of the state’s congressional delegation say is warranted. “What we are hearing is that most of the federal grants will be cut …
Maine Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass

Pilot project to use unemployment funds for job training not likely in Maine

By Mal Leary on Aug. 02, 2012, at 5:05 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — To combat continued high unemployment rates, Congress took an unprecedented step earlier this year, authorizing a pilot program allowing use of unemployment benefits to subsidize the creation of full-time jobs. However, it’s unlikely Maine employers will be able to participate in the program because the state doesn’t …

Maine lacks funds to investigate all social service fraud cases, officials say

By Mal Leary on July 29, 2012, at 3:05 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A federal system alerts Maine and other states to tens of thousands of instances of possible fraud and mistakes each quarter, but the state doesn’t have the staff or the money to investigate each case, according to officials. So Maine’s congressional delegation is supporting increased federal funding …
Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen observes sixth-graders at Gray-New Gloucester Middle School in June.

Maine eighth-graders ignore push toward engineering and technology

By Mal Leary on July 25, 2012, at 3:26 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — One of the signature initiatives of the LePage administration is to encourage Maine students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM initiative. The most recent data indicates they have a long way to go, as more than two-thirds of eighth-graders surveyed in …
Sen. Olympia Snowe

Mainers could see tax increase of $1.4 billion in 2013 if Congress doesn’t act

By Mal Leary on July 22, 2012, at 3:07 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — If Congress does not act to extend current federal income tax rates set to expire Dec. 31, Mainers will see a huge tax increase of $1.4 billion in 2013 that will result in lost state revenues and will hurt the state’s economy. Members of the state’s congressional …

Maine ends medical marijuana deduction for food stamps

By Mal Leary on July 17, 2012, at 6:49 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine was one of a handful of states that allowed some food stamp applicants to deduct medical marijuana expenses from their income for the purpose of determining benefits, but last week that practice was stopped by order of federal officials. “They told us it is not an …
Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen

Maine students say school does not challenge them

By Mal Leary on July 15, 2012, at 3:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Tens of thousands of Maine kids do not find school very challenging, according to a 2011 survey of school-age children. The finding does not surprise some state leaders who have been pushing for more challenging school classes. “This shows we have more work to do and we …
Sen. Olympia Snowe

Maine lawmakers, ACLU worried about police use of drones

By Mal Leary on July 12, 2012, at 6:31 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Unmanned, remotely controlled aircraft have become a daily tool of the military in Afghanistan, where they have proven invaluable in providing real-time information. But there is growing concern in Congress and among civil libertarians that law enforcement will want to use that technology more broadly at home. …
Olympia Snowe

Maine delegation blasts lack of fraud-cutting cooperation by Medicaid, Medicare

By Mal Leary on July 08, 2012, at 2:50 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — More than 90,000 Mainers qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare, but the two federal programs are not sharing the data needed to make sure individuals are getting all the services they should and to reduce fraud and errors in the programs. “This is a perfect example of …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the Maine Republican Convention at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta in May 2012.

LePage delays decisions on Affordable Care Act in Maine

By Mal Leary on July 03, 2012, at 8:47 p.m.
Governor wants to wait until after the November election and the possibility of a repeal.
Fairfield police Officer Steven Trahan hands a driver a speeding citation during a special speed-enforcement detail on U.S. Route 201 in the village of Hinckley on Aug. 29, 2000.

Speeding up in Maine, but tickets down

By Mal Leary on July 01, 2012, at 4:37 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Average speeds of drivers on Maine roads are edging up, but law enforcement agencies are writing fewer tickets and many of the citations issued are going unpaid, according to law enforcement officials. “It’s not that we don’t have a speeding problem, because I think a lot of …

Workers’ Comp assessment drops, seen as positive sign

By Mal Leary on June 29, 2012, at 4:11 p.m.
The board is funded by the assessment on both insurance companies that sell workers’ comp insurance and an assessment on large companies that self-insure.
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